Carla Rahn Phillips

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Contact Me


After 41 years at the University of Minnesota, I retired in May of 2013 and moved to central Texas, where I am affiliated with the History Department at the University of Texas, Austin. I also spend time in San Diego, California, where I am associated with the Maritime Museum. I was part of the museum’s design team for the reconstruction of the galleon San Salvador, which Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay in 1542. The ship meets modern Coast Guard standards for safety below decks, but it looks as much like Cabrillo’s original ship as we could make it. The website of the Maritime Museum has pictures and details about the project ( My research continues to focus on the social and economic history of Spain and its maritime connections from the late 15th to the early 18th centuries, which takes me to Spanish archives at least once a year. My translated edition of a voyage to the South Atlantic in the late 16th century was published by the Hakluyt Society at the end of 2016 and is listed on my c.v.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • B.A.: History, Pomona College, Claremont, California, 1965.
  • M.A.: Early Modern and Modern European History, New York University, New York City, 1966.
  • Ph.D.: Early Modern European History, New York University, New York City, 1972.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Spanish maritime and naval history
  • Spain 1492-1800
  • History of Europe, 1300-1800
  • European Exploration, 1492-1800
  • European economy and society 1350-1750
Courses Taught
  • Spanish Paleography, 15th-18th centuries
  • Hist 3703 - European Cities, 1300-1800
  • Hist 3704W - Daily Life in Europe: 1300-1800
  • Hist 3715 - Spain, 1450-Present
  • Hist 5617 - Spain in the Early Modern Period: 1492-1814
  • Hist 5900 - Topics in European/Medieval History: Atlantic World
  • Hist 5962 - European Expansion
  • Hist 3626 - France, from Henry IV through Napoleon
  • Hist 4961 - Senior Paper
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Vice-President for the Professional Division, American Historical Association: responsible for oversight of professional and ethical concerns for the 15,000 member organization , 1996 - 1999
  • President, Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction: Chief executive officer , 1996 - 1998
  • General Secretary, Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies: Chief elected executive officer of this 400 member organization , 1984 - 1988
  • Executive Council: North American Society for Oceanic History , 1995 - 2000


  • Spanish maritime history:
  • The Struggle for the South Atlantic: The Armada of the Strait, 1581-1584. Phillips, Carla Rahn, Hakluyt Society, Editor, 2016.
  • A Concise History of Spain. William D. Phillips, Jr. and Carla Rahn Phillips. Cambridge University Press, 2010; 2nd ed., 2016.
  • "Twenty Million People United by an Ocean: Spain and the Atlantic World Beyond the Renaissance,” part of a thematic survey of “Spain and Spanish America in the Early Modern Atlantic World: Current Trends in Scholarship,” by Gauvin Alexander Bailey, Carla Rahn Phillips, and Lisa Voigt.: Phillips, Carla Rahn, Renaissance Quarterly, 62, No. 1 1-60, 2009.
  • The Treasure of the San José: Death at Sea in the War of the Spanish Succession. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, May 2007; "Award for Excellence in World History and Biography/Autobiography,” American Association of Publishers, 2007; Paperback edition 2011; Spanish translation, Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2010.
  • “Visualizing Imperium: The ‘Virgin of the Seafarers’ and Spain’s Self-Image in the Early Sixteenth Century.”: Phillips, Carla Rahn, Renaissance Quarterly, 58, No 3 815-856, 2005.
  • (translation into English) - Spain's Men of the Sea: The Daily Life of Crews on the Indies Fleets in the Sixteenth Century, by Pablo E. Pérez-Mallaí­na. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998; Paperback edition, 2005.
  • Spain's Golden Fleece: Wool Production and the Wool Trade from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century, with William D. Phillips, Jr. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997; "Leo Gershoy Prize," American Historical Association, 1998; Spanish translation, Valladolid: Junta de Castilla y León, 2005.
  • The Worlds of Christopher Columbus, with William D. Phillips. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992; "Spain in America" 2nd Prize, 1993; Paperback edition, 1993.
  • Six Galleons for the King of Spain: Imperial Defense in the Early Seventeenth Century. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986; "Leo Gershoy" Prize, American Historical Association, 1987; "Spain in America" First Prize, 1987; Paperback edition, 1992; Spanish translation, Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1991
  • "The Life Blood of the Navy: Recruiting Sailors in Eighteenth-Century Spain", The Mariner's Mirror, 87, No. 4 (2001): 420-445.
  • Elected Fellow of the Society for the History of Discoveries, 2013
  • Royal Order of Isabel the Catholic, conferred by King Juan Carlos of Spain, 2008
  • Fletcher C. Jones Foundation Distinguished Senior Fellow, Huntington Library, San Marino, California: 2005-2006
  • Corresponding Member, Real Academia de la Historia (Spanish Royal Academy of History), elected 2005
  • Andrew W. Mellon Senior Fellow, John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, July, 2003 - December 2003
  • Sabbatical Supplement Grant, Bush Foundation, 2000 - 2001
  • Research Award, McKnight Foundation, 1997 - 2000
  • American Historical Association Leo Gershoy Award, best book in European history, 17th-18th centuries, 1998
  • American Historical Association Leo Gershoy Award, best book in European history, 17th -18th centuries, 1987
  • "Spain in America" book prize, awarded by the Spanish government, 1993
  • College of Liberal Arts Scholar of the College, University of Minnesota, 1987
  • Post-doctoral Fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation, 1987 - 1988
  • "Spain in America" book prize, awarded by the Spanish government, 1987